Today was a frustrating FRUSTRATING day at cooking school. I woke up early thinking that my class schedule was from 8:30AM to 9:30PM with two demonstrations and 2 practicals. I pre-ordered a taxi the night before so I could at least treat myself to a relaxing morning commute before heading into twelve hours of classes non stop.
When I got in the taxi and gave him the address, the driver started screaming at me in French. He didn’t want to take me to the other side of Paris (he probably thought he was getting an airport fare). He then decided that he also didn’t want to take me to the address I’d given him– Metro Vaugirard. I always give the metro address because the tiny street that Le Cordon Bleu is located on is very difficult to find amidst several one way streets. Reluctantly, I give him the real address and call my husband to block out the incessant swearing and ranting.
As we near school he turns the wrong direction and then proceeds to get lost in a tangle of little streets (metro Vaugirard was in eyesight at one point). I gaze at the fare which is up to 21.80 euros. Normally a cab from the 17th to the 15th is around 10 euros. At this point I tell him to stop, “Arret!, Arret maintenant s’il vous plait!”. He doesn’t want to let me out, but finally stops (with the meter running) while I dig out the cab fare from my purse– fighting with him over the price.
Upset by the verbal abuse, I walk the remaining 3 blocks in tears with the taxi driver continuing to swear at me through his passenger window as he coasts down the street following me.
Once at school I hurriedly get my uniform on when I find out that my group doesn’t start until 12:30P.M.!!! 12:30– I could have slept in!!! My friends in the other group ask me to join them for the day so I seek permission from the administration. It would be easy to switch, both groups are small and I could have taken the place of one person who was absent. By switching I would be able to go home four hours early instead of waiting around in the 15th arrondissement with no money and nothing to do.
But no, I am in Paris where the idea of treating people individually, with individual needs is non-existant. I plead my case and the response I get is “You should have read the schedule”. I am a 32 year old woman and intellectually competent. “I did read the schedule, but the lettering is so small…” , “Yes, but we never allow switching…” This I know is a lie because I have been in class before when students have switched.
I sweetly tell the administrator that I will be stuck until 9:30 at night. She says she is “sorry” and ends the conversation. Now really, I pay A LOT of money to go to school. I am normally positive, supportive, and nurturing is it that hard to say “yes”?
But the day is not over yet. I sulk my way through my first few classes hoping not to annoy too many people with my negative energy. I get to my last 3 hour practical (making fish terrine with sauce, yummm, fish mousse anyone?), when in the middle of the beurre blanc sauce, I get a bloody nose. A BLOODY NOSE! I’ve never had a bloody nose in my life! I run to the bathroom and grab toliet paper. With paper stuffed up my nose I stare at my reflection in the mirror…. Why? Why me?
For the rest of the practical I run back and forth between my beurre blanc, fish terrine, and the bathroom. Thankfully my favorite chef was there to console me…”Vous etes fatigue”. “Yup, maybe I am tired”, I think to myself. I plate the frickin’ terrine and drizzle the beurre blanc all around and delicately place a tiny sprig of chevril inbetween the fish mousse slices. The chef grades my performance and gives me a: “Tres Bien!” and a “Parfait”. oh la la…maybe the day wasn’t too bad after all.
There are many things I miss about home: mexican food, affordable sushi, taxi drivers, and CUSTOMER SERVICE!